What colour?

With the test fit completed, preparation for painting began. Time for the big decision; do we stay with Green or make a change?
The original New Zealand owner purchased the car new, painted in Opalescent Dark Green.

I bought it in a pretty tired state and eventually had it repainted in a slightly darker green, with a little metallic thrown in, which you can see in the thumbnail image above. I was erring on the side of being safe and staying with Green; until we saw a grey MK2 beside the Mosel River on a (pre-Covid) cycling holiday in Germany, it looked stunning beside the blue river. This image stuck in my brain, and the mental shift to Grey began to take hold. It’s a big decision to change the colour of a car you’ve owned for 39 years!

As decision time loomed, I remembered seeing images of Ian Callum’s re-imagined MK2 and liking the colour that he chose, which is referred to as Gunmetal Grey in some references. The Surgery leveraged their UK contacts and determined that Stornoway Grey was the closest match. We painted a door skin painted in a range of greys which I had at home for a while adorning the living room and various other places, so we could see what it looked like and ponder some more. Finally we settled on Stornoway Grey. It’s not an original colour from the era, but I’m happy with it, and I think it looks great.

Door skin (not one of mine) with a range of greys for comparison

After making this momentous decision, well, it seemed that way to me 🙂 final preparation for painting could get underway, starting with removing the parts fitted during the test fit process.

The mighty Mk 2 prior to painting – test fit complete
Engine removed

I’ve taken stock of the parts taken to The Surgery for the test fit, and they are now back in my garage. Hopefully, I have everything. There’s nothing worse than missing car parts!

The clearance between the lower universal steering joint and the chassis rail was still tight; this was remedied by grinding more metal off the rail.

Adding additional clearance for the steering universal
All tidied up


At this point I should say that painting is a black art to me, all this flatting, buffing and polishing, so I’ll do my best to describe the process, but all errors are due to my lack of understanding.

The body was again checked for straightness, with some areas requiring filler for perfect alignment. During this process the internal seams were sealed with epoxy sealer.

Seam sealer in engine bay
Seam sealer in engine bay
Seam sealer in rear of cabin

I purchased new door and boot rubbers from SNG Barrett in the UK, which the team at The Surgery temporarily fitted to check the alignment of the doors and boot, and make changes as required. This took a lot of effort as the door fit wasn’t the best to start with and not improved with the replacement door (skin) tops we had to fit due to my blunder with the door skins.

Filler added to the bonnet, although nowhere near as bad as the doors


Following the filler, the amazing team at The Surgery hand/block sanded the entire body with any “rub through” areas being etch primed with epoxy urethane etch primer. Then a rubberised underseal was applied to both sills and the bottom edge of the rear panel to minimise damage from stone chips in the future.

Masked prior to underseal

Next the body was cleaned, the interior masked, and the body coated in three coats of two pack hi build undercoat.

Looking good after three coats of hi build undercoat

Top coat!

And now – nervous times – will this colour look any good? More hard work (not by me) lies in wait before we get there. The undercoated exterior is now hand sanded/blocked with 400-800 grit sandpaper, cleaned, and the top applied. The topcoat consists of three coats, followed by three coats of clear coat.

And here it is!
Three coats of top coat, plus three coats of clear coat

Doors, boot lid, associated parts, and interior

Now all the hinges, doors, and other components were given their final coats of paint and refitted.

Here are some images of the interior paint. I opted for a smooth finish in the engine bay; the original factory finish had a “crinkly” appearance which I assume was underseal or similar painted over. Anyway, I prefer a cleaner look.

Original engine bay

Following this, the Jag’s underbody was coated with underseal, and the semi-enclosed areas of the chassis (inside the sills, etc.) sealed with cavity wax. Finally, the exterior gets a full polish. This description doesn’t begin to do justice to the work John and the team at the Surgery have done on the Jag. It looks stunning; the only problem is that it’s super hard to get any decent images as the finish is so reflective.

Here we go, painted and polished
Really happy with the colour
Should look the business when I swap out the steel wheels for wires

The final image is the Jag off to storage for a while as we are relocating to the Nelson area in the South Island – and building a new Man Cave (oh, and house) where the saga will continue …